Steel MP3 Case




About: I enjoy making things of all sorts, with an emphasis on bicycles, tiny/useful/just plain nifty devices, cartoonish arch-villany, and not destroying the planet we live on. If those last two thing sound contra...

Here is the fabled steel encased Creative Zen that matches my newly created Steampunk headphones. Those can be seen in my other entries.

Difficulty: either learning how to weld will make this a bit hard, or having someone weld for you will make the cost go up. You also have to know how to use a rivet gun, a power drill, and a tap wrench. On the other hand, you probably could substitute metal epoxy for the welding, since it's not holding much weight...

Step 1: The Base.

Made the basic shell in my senior year of high school, in Welding class (one of the best classes ever, in my opinion)

Took a scrap of sheet steel, probably 1/16 thickness, and bent in into a C shaped channel that my Zen would almost fit into, except for the control buttons on the side.

Then I ground out the gaps in the edges of the C to allow the buttons to fit.

I took a scavenged hinge and, after a failed attempt on one end(a crappy weld) I managed to Oxi-acetaline torch weld it onto the other end of the C.

Sorry the pic is sideways. Grink! goes my neck.

Step 2: The Lid

For the lid, I used another 1/16" sheet of steel scrap and bent it into the L shape I wanted, then hacksawed/filed/sanded the screen opening out.
Then I drilled the holes for the screws that would anchor it to the hinge, and tapped them with a much-searched-for M5 tap (the school shop had only English standard taps, and my garage was full of metric screws)
Then I screwed it together with loctite, and ground off the protruding ends of the screws to be flush with the sheet steel.

Step 3: The Padding.

I needed some kind of shock absorption, so I superglued a cut-up mousepad inside the lid, grippy side towards the Zen.
The stuff also keeps it from moving around in the several mm of vertical space it has in there.

Step 4: The Clasp.

This thing has gone through several less than satisfactory methods of keeping the lid closed, and right now there is a key chain looped over a bicycle chainring bolt keeping it shut. Looks interesting, and is all metal, but I worry about the Chinese whatever-it-is snapping at some inconvenient time. Whatever.

Step 5: The Decoration

I added the gears a year or so later, on a break from college. Had a bunch lying around from a dead, dissected printer. Looks kind of odd, white nylon gears on a steel device... but I'll figure out some kind of magnesium paint or something to make them look the part.

This pic is also sideways. Erk.

Step 6: Afterthoughts....

It just occurred to me that this thing has none of the wonderfully Olde Tyme stuff that we call brass and are so fond of (some of us are)
I believe I shall find either some brass instrument case corners, or some cheaper steel ones and subject them to the flame, and I shall have a less sharp and gougy device.
pics shall follow.........



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    13 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    You could make the whole thing out of brass and copper, that would mean you could solder instead of welding, and you could also solder brass clock gears on the back.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Props! I love my Altoids case I made years ago for my micro, but don't have the resources to make one like this for my big player. Two other ways to consider painting the gears- Paint them silver, then get some gold leaf to give it a worn antique look. I would probably go for layer if gray, topped with black and give it that worn metal/gun metal look. Of course, LACQUER! Isn't it awkward to hold/carry with the gears on there?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    actually, weighing what it does, it was kinda prone to slipping from my hand before... but the gears accomplish the same thing as Knurling does on say, a Maglite (brandname, restrain your legal-stormtroopers!) or Mountain bike barends: grippiness!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I have had that problem with this one, I feel (felt) your pain. Others have, too, apparently. The fix: lotsa hotglue... well, that's disapointing. had just the problem and the solution outlined step by step, but the site is no more. Crappiness. Anywho, you take the thing apart enough to get at the solderjoints that hold the jack onto the motherboard (it involves de-soldering the screen and being VERY careful with a thin strip of copper if you want to use your backlight afterward)reattach whichever joint has broken loose, and glue the heck out of it. If you think it's worth the effort (my zen was close to half full of music already, so replacing it would have been EEEVIL) use the best, hardest Phillips screwdriver you can find, a Chinese one WILL round out those little screws. Toss the screws and put in Allen heads, or even Torx if you can findem and have a light touch. The power jack also stopped working, and in the same dissassembly headache, I saw that it had the little plastic end-ring from a wallwort plug that I had charged it with in the car and never thought twice about. Now I always inspect the plug after I charge a device of any kind. TMI, or just enough?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    finally someone makes a creative instructables


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry man but the plastic gears killed it............................ other wise pretty awesome, im thinking of making something similar for my iphone.

    Ok that is VERY cool. Unfortunately I can't weld yet... I will try this next year in metalshop though!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Instead of those plastic, white gears. I would put gears from an old watch that doesn't work anymore or that you don't need and make them look old and rusted.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    i was looking up "ways to protect your ipod" but i think this dominates!